June 19, 2009

On Saturday June 13, a handful of historians met at the Oswego County Fairgrounds to set up exhibits and discuss the upcoming fair. Representatives from Mexico, Volney, New Haven, Sandy Creek, Pulaski, and Richland joined Half-Shire members to review plans for the 5-day annual event which begins on the evening of June 30.

This year Shawn Doyle and Greg Monette of Half-Shire will be Superintending Heritage Hall, and will be joined by representatives from most of the communities in Oswego County. The building is expected to be quite full, and diverse. Among the available categories for entry are the three separate scarecrow contests (best-dressed, unique and scariest) with prizes ranging from $3-$10 along with ribbons. On behalf of the Oswego County Genealogical Society Doyle and Monette are also organizing the 2nd annual family photo wall. This unique exhibit will cover wall space of 20’ by 15’ and will be situated in what is known as the red sitting room. Interested people who have a framed antique photo of ancestors past are encouraged to bring them to Heritage Hall before the fair for inclusion. Prizes for best photo will also be awarded, entry deadline is June 28, Contact Shawn Doyle at 298-3620 or SPDinPUL@hotmail.com to save a space.

Renown youth harpist Kelsey Munz of Osceola is planning to perform on a yet to be determined date in Heritage hall, our own Florence Gardner of Albion is also expected to play patriotic anthems on July 4, on her keyboard. Spinning, chair caning, weaving, tatting and crochet work will also be demonstrated by very capable experts. At 10am and 7pm daily historians will conduct “roundtable discussions” on topics of interest. Coffee and iced tea will be available as well as very comfortable furniture to relax in while taking a break in the hall.

In other news: more fantastic photos have arrived via email from the St. Mary’s of Mt. Carmel restoration project. The inside of the church has been completely painted and the images are astounding! A light “Irish Green” was selected for the walls, accented by a both a darker green trim and a crisp New England white ceiling. We eagerly await an opportunity to visit this historic Irish landmark in the hamlet of Florence.

Our second week at the Pulaski Farmers’ Market proved both profitable and busy. A small exhibit on Half-Shire region railroads prepared by Glenna Gorski in 2006 was displayed. Many interested people took time to thumb through the large notebook as well as study the detailed map prepared by Dick and Glenna. On Friday the 19th some of our recently completed scrapbooks from the digitalization project will be on display (weather permitting), On June 26th we will have some select yearbooks from Pulaski and Sandy Creek out for review in the park as we mark “Alumni weekend”. The Pulaski market has musical entertainment lined up each weekend all summer long—and best of all its free to attend!

The Maplelawn Cemetery of Dugway is preparing to construct a new drop-chain style fence along the front of its property line. Bill Sheeley, Tom Burke and Ed Bennett have been marking the site out in preparation. Thanks go out to New York State Engineer Jamie Tompkins of Redfield who took time on his way into work on June 10, to meet with the fence committee to review the right of way rules. Maplelawn cemetery has many old pioneers at rest in its grounds, and their locations are additionally backed up by a detailed map on the wall of the vault painstakingly prepared a few years back by former Trustee Jack Steinfeld. This map is critical to genealogists, and lists unmarked graves as well as the marked locations. The recent work at Maplelawn is able to be undertaken thanks to a generous legacy left by the late Barb Walter of Dugway.

Half-Shire Vice President Greg Monette has recently updated the county-wide data base on War of 1812 veterans. This first of its kind database is being edited and will appear on the Oswego County tourism website soon. New information has doubled the number of men we have been able to prove as veterans of the forgotten “second war of American Independence”. The front line for our region was Lake Ontario where the British North American capital was located in Kingston Ontario. George Widrig is working on a good-sized display that will incorporate Monette’s work as well as a detailed map of the region in 1813. This display will be at the Oswego County Fair and other venues throughout the year.

On June 9, Lorraine Twp. Historian Arlene Moore and her son Tom visited Half-Shire and donated a tremendously valuable collection of family photos that relate to our region. George Widrig and Erma Schroeder spent time finding information for the Moores and had a delightful morning. Arlene edited a book on Lorraine written by her late husband that we still have available for sale. “The Huddle” is a detailed account of the history of Lorraine and well worth the price of $20.

Half-Shire’s Richland research facility is open four days a week—Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 9-1pm and Fridays 9-4 pm. We are also pleased to schedule any other appointments. Our faculty is located in the former Richland hamlet school, 1100 County Rte. 48, Richland, (PO 73) or on the web at www.halfshire.com/.

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